Please tell us about yourself:
My name is Ben Shelton and I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. I went to Santa Barbara High School, and my main focus as a kid was playing basketball. But I also loved listening to music, writing and drawing. It was always a balance of arts and sports. I was never too much into science or politics.
How did you ﬁrst get interested in ﬁlmmaking?
I lived right next to a Church growing up, and when I was 11 years old or so, they purchased video editing equipment to make movies for their youth program. I learned a lot about how to edit movies that way. And the more I did it, the more I loved it.
Is ﬁlmmaking your only job?
Along with being a father and a husband, yes. Do those count?
What is your favorite part about making ﬁlms?
It's hard to pick one. The writing is so much fun, because it's limitless. The production is great because of all the people working together. The finished product is a mixed bag, because sometimes it turns out better than you expected and the feedback is amazing... and then other times the final product is a bit of a let down.
Can you tell us brieﬂy about some of your projects-- past or present?
Right now I'm writing and directing a series called THE FLIPSIDE, which I'm very excited about. It's produced by Rainn Wilson's company SoulPancake, and you can watch it on YouTube.com/SoulPancake. Every episode is it's own self-contained story, so you don't have to watch it in order. And each episode tackles one of life's big questions.
Ideas are the easy part. Everyone has an idea. The difficulty is turning an idea into a story that makes sense, and then financing it.
What’s one thing you wish you could have know when starting out as a ﬁlmmaker?
That's a tough question. I would have loved to know more about cinematography and lighting. My interest in filmmaking has always been from the storytelling side of things. I was a theater major in college, and so I look at films from a writing side and an acting side, before I look at the camera work. It took me a while before I started to really think about what the camera can do and how it can make you feel.
What advice would you give to young and aspiring ﬁlmmakers?
Learn from everyone around you. READ BOOKS. Be nice to people. Make projects that you love, and don't try to do something, just because you THINK it's what people want to see.
Anything you want to add?
Follow your heart.
You can find out more about Ben Shelton and Shelton Films at www.sheltonfilms.com.